Smith, Meier & Webb, LPA

Situations in which a hospital may be held liable

Readers are likely aware that they can sue doctors when they or a loved one receive care that is considered to be below a certain standard. They may not realize however that in certain situations a hospital may be sued as well.

In addition to being held liable for its own negligence, it might also be held vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its employees. In the latter situation when an employee acts in a negligent manner while within the scope of his or her employment, as an employer a hospital could end up having to compensate the injured patient.

A hospital may be negligent if, for example, it hires someone without properly looking into his or her qualifications and that person then provides negligent care to a patient. In addition, a hospital must make sure that the faculty is properly staffed and that the orders of a physician are followed by other health care providers. Again, if a patient is hurt because of the lack of proper staffing or failing to follow treatment orders, the hospital may be liable.

Other situations in which a hospital may be held liable include when it fails to:

  • Properly admit patients.
  • Properly discharge patients.
  • Keep accurate medical records.
  • Perform clinical tests in an accurate manner.

Matters involving hospital negligence can be complicated. This is in part due to the evidence that is vital to most cases. In many cases medical records will play an important role. Because of the nature of these cases it is usually a good idea to work with a lawyer who has a good understanding of how these types of cases work.

Source: FindLaw, “Medical Malpractice: Who Can Be Sued?” Accessed Sept. 19, 2014

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